Since the mid 1980s, René Pierre Allain has constructed “paintings” – precisely constructed and not painted. Allain studied photography at Loyola of Montreal and worked as a professional photographer until his late twenties. At that time, he realized a need for a more “hands on” form of expression and pursued studies in fine arts, specifically in sculpture. Moving to New York in 1984, he received an MFA from Hunter College. He now divides time between a studio in Brooklyn and teaching design in a workshop called “Constructed Painting” at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Allain’s sculptures gradually moved from the floor to the wall, as he grew more interested in issues of planes and painting. Rather than painting in the traditional manner, he worked on sheet metal utilizing chemicals, acids, and a torch to transform the surfaces, resulting in a body of work dubbed “steel painting.” There is actually no pigment involved. Both Allain’s appearance and his attitude are those of a dedicated worker, but one with an artist’s eye for texture and surface.
Allain’s mostly abstract and geometric works take their inspiration from architecture, heraldry, insignia, and from disruptive and rhythmic patterns in nature. His collection of African masks also inspires him to abstraction. Transcendent and minimalist, his recent works are an exercise in formalism.